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Jack The Dripper – Discussing Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock is probably one of the most recognizable names when it comes to the world of abstract expressionism. He is most famous for his paintings that showcase his “Drip Technique” like in No.5 1948 which prompted the New York Times to fondly refer to him as “Jack the Dripper” in 1956. The nickname effectively encapsulated what Pollock’s art was all about, but it also pigeonholed him to the drip technique. But, nonetheless “Jack the Dripper” is certainly one of the greatest artists in American Art History that has effectively immortalized abstract expressionalism the way Braque and Picasso did for Cubism.

Born on the 28th of January 1912, he spent his youth in Arizona and later on in Chico, California. He studied in Los Angeles at the ‘Manual Arts High School’. He also managed to experience Native American Culture when he went out with his father during his land surveys of the Native American land. By the 1930’s, Pollock had already moved to New York and was under the tutelage of Thomas Hart Benton. Benton’s work and artistic point of view influenced Pollock’s early work for only a short while.

At the age of 33, Pollock married Lee Krasner, who was also a very important American Painter. They moved into to Springs, Long Island, New York. Their former residence is now known to be the “Pollock-Krasner House and Studio”. The house had a nearby barn that Jackson Pollock turned into his studio. There he created the majority of his most well known pieces and it was also here that he allowed himself to be photographed by the young Hans Namuth. The young photographer eagerly documented the movement and the attitude of Pollock when he fell into a Zen-like state as he drizzled and splashed paint onto a canvas that has been tacked to the hard floor of his barn studio.

As mentioned, Pollock is most famous for paint drip technique, but he also has a lot of graphic work that were made up of brightly colored pieces. Notable of these include: Male and Female – completed in 1942, Moon-Woman – 1943, Stenographic Figure – 1942, Easter and the Totem – 1953 and a lot of others. The middle part of Pollock’s career was dominated by this paint drip artwork. In the early part of his career, he often gave names to his work, but it is said that he grew tired of magazines and critics trying to look through the name of the artwork and that is why he started numbering his work instead.

There was also a point when Pollock stayed away from color and concentrated on Blacks, Grays and Whites, but he later on returned to using color as portrayed in Easter and the Totem and in Portrait and a Dream- both finished in 1953. Pollock tragically died in 1956 in a supposed “alcohol related” car crash. It has been reported that Pollock struggled with alcoholism during the later part of his life and that affected his work.

Pollock was once again in the news in 2006 when one of his paintings entitled: No.5, 1948 sold for a record breaking US $140 Million to a supposedly ‘anonymous’ buyer. The painting was once the property of David Geffen. Pollock’s life and work was also commemorated in the movie entitled: Pollock, in 2001. The movie stared Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden. It gained Academy Award nominations for the Best Actor for Harris and harden won the Best Supporting Actress Category.

Pollock’s life was the life of a true artist. Despite his death, his name is one of those that are easily recognizable and his fame is comparable to Picasso, Van Gough, Degas and a lot of other great artists.

Submitted by:

Benedict Smythe

Art Prints and Photos on Canvas are available to buy from GetCanvas.co.uk. Benedict is a freelance article writer for Dolphin Promotions SEO Company.




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